Is this a case of the elite getting away with it?
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong admitted today that he was at the controversial party organized by Tim Yap, where a number of guests were seen dancing around without masks.
Magalong even publicly assured the self-proclaimed “eventologist” (whatever that means) that he would be treated fairly as the Department of Tourism and the local government conducts an investigation into the party.
The mayor said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo that he and his wife were invited to the event, held at The Manor at Camp John Hay.
“What happened was that Tim Yap and his group, they went to our art exhibit and they bought a lot of art [works], paintings of our local artists, you know our local artists are having a hard time,” Magalong said in English and Filipino.
“And then they called me, asking if I could attend [the party]. So I went there with my wife to thank them and at the same time I saw their [social media] posts promoting Baguio,” he added.
Magalong confessed that he witnessed several guests at the party remove their masks.
“There was picture-taking. There was someone going around taking pictures. Maybe because some were excited, they removed their masks while taking pictures. But I always wore my mask,” he recalled.
“There was [a violation]. Even my wife violated it because she removed [her mask] while there was picture-taking,” he said.
Magalong tried to justify this by saying that other people also forget to wear their masks during social events, it’s just that they choose not to post photos of them with bare faces on social media.
“Not everyone is perfect,” he said.
In the same interview, he also said that Baguio City has an ordinance that enforces mask-wearing, which imposes a fine depending on the number of their violations. He said he has already talked to Yap about the incident.
“We spoke yesterday and I told him that I understand what happened. Everybody was just so engrossed, was engaged. I told him, don’t you worry about it, the help you have given Baguio, promoting [our city]…we’re considering all of these,” he said.
Ironically, Magalong is the national government’s “contact tracing” czar. He had reportedly implemented a system of contact-tracing that is supposedly efficient, and he is responsible for teaching this method to other local government units.
Yap’s party was exposed by a Twitter account called Gays Over COVID, which posted video clips of the event earlier this week. A clip showed Yap riding a white horse without a mask, while guests such as actress KC Concepcion danced to the beat of Ifugao music. All of the guests in the videos did not appear to have any face coverings.
The hullabaloo surrounding the Yap’s Baguio City party follows the closure of a Taguig City restaurant, allegedly because influencer Raymond Gutierrez held his birthday party in the venue. In one photo, Gutierrez’s cellphone-toting friends are seen crowding around him as he prepares to blow the candles on his cake.
This article, ‘Don’t you worry about it’: Mayor Magalong assures Tim Yap of fairness amidst probe, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.